This I Believe

Olivia - Moraga, California
Entered on December 3, 2007

I’d be lying if I said that fear is something I’d like to eradicate from my life. No matter how much I deny it, fears and insecurities pervade my every thought and decision, crippling my self-esteem and inhibiting my desires. I am, however, aware that fear is a powerful motivator. It runs my life and surprisingly, I am grateful.

Several years ago, I would’ve been horrified to realize my actions were to be dictated by the thought that something would go awry. At that time, I believed that a life lived in fear was not worth living at all. The irony of that belief is that I was so frightened of the thought of being frightened that I did everything I could to prevent my future from becoming a mass of anxieties. Pfft, so much for doing that. In my futile attempts, I was overwhelming myself with even more trepidation and as a result, living in the present. After all, yesterday was just another today.

Imagine a withdrawn girl, too hesitant to socialize with her classmates due to an irrational dread of “not being good enough”. There was always a constant push and pull between what she wanted—friends—and what she feared—rejection. She did not realize it then, but it was her fear that drove her to accept the friendship of a foreign girl who she was wary of before. She accepted blindly and although she knew that such an opportunity had the potential to hurt her, she was more afraid that it would be the only opportunity she would receive. She wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth. To her delighted surprise, the two forged a bond that was as deep as fourth-graders were able to comprehend. It was nothing to shake a stick at, the girl thought. Despite her new friendship or perhaps because of it, her fears arose unrelentingly. Would her new friend tire of her? Would she be abandoned in lieu of a more interesting person? These distressingly alarming thoughts plagued her and fueled her determination to expose her uniqueness.

When it came time for her friend to return to her homeland, she felt that familiar push and pull once again. It possible, no, it was inevitable that the spark of liveliness her friend had ignited would be snuffed out without proper tending. It was then that I came to the realization that I could take action to prevent my reversion back to a helpless and most importantly, friendless child. (Oh, did I mention the girl with the inferiority complex was me?) By accepting the reality of my fears, I’ve moved on from scaring myself into becoming “good enough” to using my fears of failure to motivate earning a decent G.P.A. So far, it’s been fairly…encouraging.

Fear, however unpleasant, is not unwelcome in my life. As absurd as it sounds, I am frightened into living. And in the end, it’s all that truly matters.

Are you scared? You should be.